Campaigners Say 'Bloviating' by Trump at UN Should Not Distract World From Serious Effort to Ban Nuclear Weapons Once and For All

During a week where the United Nations General Assembly has gathered at UN headquarters in New York City, Wednesday is the International Day to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons and the irony of that convergence was not lost on anti-nuke campaigners who recognized that having U.S. President Donald Trump chair a meeting of the UN Security Council might be a distraction from the efforts of those nations who have agree that atomic weapons should be banned once and for all.

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which in 2017 won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to abolish nukes, the serious effort to continue that work should not be overshadowed or slowed by Trump’s warmongering and public performance at the United Nations.

“While Donald Trump is playing global reality TV star at the UN on Wednesday, other serious leaders will be signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s executive director, in a statement ahead of the Security Council meeting. The actions of those nations backing the elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, she said, “will have far more impact on securing the world than Trump’s bloviating.”

As part of their effort, ICAN and others are using the day of commemoration at the UN to urge nations who have not yet done so to sign the global treaty that was formally introduced last year. Groups have also turned to pressuring the corporations and industries that are also profiting off the world’s nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday, they took aim at international banking giant BNP Paribas by calling on it to divest its nuclear holdings:

While the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (pdf) was adopted in July of 2017 and signed by 60 nations, the treaty will not go into effect until it is ratified by at least 50 countries—a process that could take years. So far, only fifteen states have ratified the treaty and the world’s nuclear powers, including the United States, have continued to roadblock, boycott, or otherwise stall the effort.

Despite the opposition, said Greenpeace’s Jen Maman on Wednesday, “the pressure on the nine nuclear-armed states is building – from the growing number of nations and financial institutions who are ceasing to invest in the production of these weapons systems, to thousands of people speaking out across the globe.”